Future of Energy

Why strategic energy management is key for 2020

Posted on 02 January 2020
By Wayne Mitchell
Wayne Mitchell
Director of npower Business Solutions, Energy HQ

Wayne has worked in the energy industry for 20 years, starting as an Analyst for an energy consultancy before moving into business development and pricing for npower Business Solutions. Upon joining the company he focused on strengthening relationships with external consultants, before taking up his current position heading up Energy HQ, which provides energy solutions and risk management services to UK businesses.

Energy management will become a hot topic for 2020. Why? For a number of reasons…

Firstly, with the government’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, we are going to start seeing more requirements emerge to support a widespread low-carbon transition.

In the final quarter of last year, the government outlined some initial proposals including:

  • Introducing mandatory in-use energy performance ratings for all business buildings to help businesses “understand and manage the amount of energy they use”

  • Setting a target for all rented commercial buildings to achieve minimum Energy Performance Certificate band B by 2030

  • Developing a plan to decarbonise “every single mode of transport”

  • Encouraging the uptake of new ways of working – such as using teleconferencing to reduce business travel

A White Paper that will set out more detail around what will be expected of businesses and consumers is due to be published in the first quarter of this year.

Focus on climate emergency

Already we are seeing real concerns emerge among our public sector clients, who are very much focused on the current ‘climate emergency’.

Businesses are also asking for help and support to reduce emissions and offset the impact of rising energy costs.

But while there is plenty of desire to deliver, a gap in practical hands-on energy management skills is hindering many organisations in knowing exactly what to do, where and how.

Demand for environmental responsibility

At the same time, there are growing expectations for all types of operation to demonstrate a commitment to using resources in a responsible way.

Consumers and investors are increasingly demanding that the concerns they associate with have sound environmental credentials.

This is also becoming more apparent in the business-to-business supply chain.

Five steps to strategic energy management

So as we start the new year, what can you do to ensure your business adopts a more sustainable energy management strategy? Here are my top five recommendations:

  1. Get forensic

Start to track where, how, when and why you are using energy. If you don’t have Half-Hourly (HH) metering – and even if you do – investigate how sub-metering can deliver this kind of detail, so you start to become really informed about where the energy your business consumes actually goes.

  1. Analyse the data

Next, feed all this information into an energy management system that can make your data meaningful. Look for patterns over the day and compare sites to identify anomalies and areas of possible waste. Then you can start to plan how best to make savings.

  1. Audit for insight

Data analysis will equip you with useful information. But drilling down to look at all your energy-consuming equipment and processes – and assessing how energy efficient they are – will give you some real insight into where you can make a difference with new approaches and technologies. For example, installing motion-sensing lighting and swapping to LED bulbs, or upgrading an old boiler or cooling system.

  1. Quantify investment

Always look to measure the cost of energy-saving measures against return on investment (ROI). Funding for new equipment or technologies can be hard to obtain, but where you can demonstrate a payback period and long-term savings, it makes the business case far more compelling.

  1. Commit to continuous improvement

Energy efficiency isn’t just a one-off project. To offset rising energy costs and keep your invoice static, you need to be looking to save at least 5% each year, every year. This may be easy in the early years as you pick off the low-hanging fruit. But longer-term, you need to be really strategic to maintain the pace. Considering approaches such as ISO 500001 can help you adopt a strategy of continuous improvement.

I hope this provides some useful ideas to help refine your existing strategy.

Of course, our team of multi-skilled experts at npower Business Solutions, Energy HQ are here to support you. So do get in touch if you have any questions or need advice. You can reach them by calling 0800 193 6866 or sending an email to nBS@npower.com.

We’ll also be bringing you news of an exciting new energy management resource in the next few weeks.

For now though, wishing you a very happy – and energy-efficient – New Year!

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